An Editor's Guide to What to Wear in Mexico City
Karyn Millet/Casa Polanco

How I Packed for a Weekend in Polanco, Mexico City

The chic dresses, light layers, and comfortable walking sneakers I packed. 

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Like so many Americans, I’ll take any excuse to spend a few days in Mexico City—who can resist a weekend of seafood tostada, breezy bookstores, and the city’s always-evolving boutique hotel scene? This fall, on my way to Oaxaca, I stopped in the city for a few days to stay at the recently opened Casa Polanco

A few staple pieces made it easy for me to bounce from one activity to the next, even when I didn’t have time to stop by the hotel and freshen up. Because the weather in Mexico City tends to run moderate but dry, I packed outfits that helped me roll with temps that varied from cooler in the mornings and evenings to warm and sunnier mid-day: wide-legged pants, sheer long-sleeve tops, and light layers I could strip down to when the sun beat its hardest. 

Below, the essentials I packed that were comfortable yet put together enough to sidle my way through effortlessly cool throngs of chilangos—and the always polished guests in Casa Polanco’s lobby. 

Everlane The Linen Way-High Drape pant

Sure, linen wrinkles in transit, but packing the breathable fabric always pays off. I love these pants from Everlane (I also have a chartreuse linen pair from Mara Hoffman that devastatingly are no longer for sale), which transition easily from day to night and always feel fantastic on the flight home when I care even less about a crinkle. A neutral tan makes it easy to layer on color in other ways, which I always tend to do in Mexico City—just remember to pack skin-tone underwear, as vivid colors often show through light linen.

Reformation Tasha tank

If I have to pack one top for every trip, it’s going to be a ribbed tank. Nothing makes a better base layer, and they are so easy to dress up (add chunky heels and some fun earrings), or down (sometimes subbing in as a PJ top). Obviously Reformation is a worthy splurge given their commitment to sustainability, and this organic cotton tank is seriously soft.

Paloma Wool Morchis & Mask print long sleeve top

It seems like every season Paloma Wool drops a few abstract-patterned sheer long sleeves that I am too tempted to splurge on, but my latest was a worthy investment. I mean, it looks great, but it also takes zero space in a carry-on, feels light during the day, and provides just the right coverage when the city feels cooler at night. 

Agolde Valen high waist slim fit bootcut jeans

I’ve joined the cult of Agolde Jeans and I’m never looking back. This high-waist bootcut is made of the softest cotton, and I found the sizing to run a little large—but that meant that when I bought these pants in my regular size, the result was comfy enough to wear on a 6 a.m. flight out of New York that I planned to sleep on (without the bulk of wide-leg or boyfriend-style jeans).

Mara Hoffman Sydney dress

If I could have one designer create my entire travel wardrobe it would be Mara Hoffman. Her clothing is flattering, sustainably made, and playfully chic. This dress is on the more classic side of the spectrum, but it comes in a bright Poppy as well if you want something bolder. I love the basic black. My friend actually packed this one and I had to borrow it—it was perfect for throwing on for a sunny day of walking around and shopping, before rolling to cocktails at Cicatriz. 

Asics Gel Nimbus 9

Mexico City is a city for walking—any shoes that might pinch and rub after twenty blocks isn’t earning a spot in my suitcase. I love a pair of Reeboks, Nikes, or these very dad-shoe Asics which look and feel great even when you are forced to admit that you probably should have called an Uber. 

Osuza large pouch

Disclosure: My good friend owns this brand, which is how I ended up with this pouch. But it was the perfect bag for Mexico City because it’s spacious enough to fit a book for reading in the park, or an Electrolit for when that dry weather is really starting to hit, and I can even shove a foldable Baggu tote inside for when I know I’m going to do even more shopping. Consider this my new city-trip bag.

Supergoop! City sunscreen serum

I have two rules in Mexico City: eat a cabeza taco whenever I see one (I always leave wishing I’d had more), and slather on sunscreen every couple hours. I have a whole medicine cabinet of different sunscreens for different situations, but this creamier Supergoop! really helps with Mexico City’s dry weather—my skin is moisturized whenever I swipe it on, yet it doesn’t feel oily or greasy. 

Where I stayed:

Karyn Millet/Casa Polanco

Casa Polanco

In the upscale Polanco neighborhood, this renovated Spanish Revival-style mansion—a 2023 Hot List winner—is an all-too-easy place to land each night. It’s walking distance from fantastic restaurants—if you’re trying to check Quintonil or Pujol off your list—but it’s also perfectly positioned for iced-coffee-in-hand walks through Chapultepec Park each morning or a visit to the very cool Casa Luis Barragán. And the vibes, posh as Polanco can be, are laidback at this hotel—I savored retreating to my balcony for a glass of Mexican wine after a long day out and about, before re-emerging for dinner. I’ll definitely be booking a massage in the rooftop cabana next time I’m in town (especially if I clock another late night spinning around Mama Rumba in Roma Norte).